Janelle Monáe has been serving inimitable looks and flawless hits for a decade – blessing us anew with each album release. Dirty Computer, her third studio album sees her move to a new strength with the release of an emotion picture – which Monáe defines as “a narrative film and accompanying musical album” in Dirty Computer’s YouTube description.
You can probably tell by now that this is less a review and more an expression of my absolute appreciation that I get to live in the same time as Janelle is making music. So, let’s get dirty.
The musical album for Dirty Computer has 14 tracks, three of which were released ahead of the album as singles with accompanying videos. Make Me Feel is a funk-fueled party track, whilst Django Jane is the type of contemplative rap song that makes it onto playlists with the likes of Gil Scot Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Finally, PYNK is the pop track your religious parents warned you about. No really – it’s not even subtextually sexual, it’s textually sexual.
Dirty Computer takes us from an a capella intro and through a journey of ups and downs, culminating in the poignant and supremely catchy Americans. Don’t believe me? How can you not love these lyrics:
War is old, so is sex
Let’s play God, you go next
Heads go up, men go down
Try my luck, stand my ground
Die in church, live in jail
Say her name, twice in hell
Uncle Sam kissed a man
Jim Crow Jesus rose again
And if you’ve ever wondered what your favourite audio album would look like… Dirty Computer, an emotion picture, is the answer to the prayers you’ve prayed.
Mood Meter: If you like it when your faves reward your loyalty with more genius and more amazing – this is the musical and visual journey for you.
Watch Dirty Computer here.